Suicide in the United States
Suicide is a major national public health issue in the United States. In 2016, there were 44,965 recorded suicides, up from 42,773 in 2014, according to the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). On average, adjusted for age, the annual U.S. suicide rate increased 24% between 1999 and 2014, from 10.5 to 13.0 suicides per 100,000 people, the highest rate recorded in 28 years. Due to the stigma surrounding suicide, it is suspected that suicide generally is underreported. In April 2016, the CDC released data showing that the suicide rate in the United States had hit a 30-year high, and later in June 2018, released further data showing that the rate has continued to increase and has increased in every U.S. state except Nevada since 1999.
In 2015, suicide was the seventh leading cause of death for males and the 14th leading cause of death for females. Additionally, it was the second leading cause of death for young people aged 15 to 24 and the third leading cause of death for those between the ages of 10 and 14. From 1999 to 2010, the suicide rate among Americans aged 35 to 64 increased nearly 30 percent. The largest increases were among women aged 60 to 64, with rates rising 60 percent, then men in their fifties, with rates rising nearly 50 percent.  In 2008, it was observed that U.S. suicide rates, particularly among middle-aged white women, had increased, although the causes were unclear.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reported that in 2016 suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., imposing a cost of $69 billion to the US annually. Other statistics reported are:
- The annual age-adjusted suicide rate is 13.42 per 100,000 individuals.
- Men die by suicide 3.53x more often than women.
- Women attempt suicide 1.2x more often than men.
- On average, there are 123 suicides per day.
- White males accounted for 7 of 10 suicides in 2016.
- A firearm is used in almost 50% of all suicides.
- The rate of suicide is highest in middle age—white men in particular.
The U.S. government seeks to prevent suicides through its National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, a collaborative effort of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, Health Resources and Services Administration, and Indian Health Service. Their plan consists of eleven goals aimed at preventing suicides. Older adults are disproportionately likely to die by suicide. Some U.S. jurisdictions have laws against suicide or against assisting suicide. In recent years, there has been increased interest in rethinking these laws. These policies focus on the recovery of the individual through the treatment of the mental disease. The aim is to assure the wellness and the health of the person affected as well as make sure that they recover and take advantage of their all potential.
Approximately half of suicides are committed using a firearm, accounting for two-thirds of all firearm deaths. Firearms were used in 56.9% of suicides among males in 2016, making it the most commonly used method by them.
Number of suicides by age group and sex
The National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) keeps data on U.S. suicides.
|Age (years)||10 – 14||15 – 24||25 – 34||35 – 44||45 – 54||55 – 64||65 – 74||75+||Unknown||All|
Based on the NVDRS 2016 data, the New York Times acknowledged that, among men, those over 65—who make up a smaller proportion of the population—are at greatest risk of death by suicide. The NVDRS 2015 data showed that, among men of all races, men over 65 were the most likely to commit suicide (27.67 suicides per 100,000), closely followed by men 40–64 (27.10 suicides per 100,000). Men 20–39 (23.41 per 100,000) and 15–19 (13.81 per 100,000) were less likely to commit suicide.
There have been many high-profile incidents in the United States in the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s of individuals thought to be attempting "suicide by cop" or killing others before killing themselves. Examples include the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, the 2010 Austin plane crash, the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and the 2014 Isla Vista killings.
Rates compared to other countries
There are significant variations in the suicide rates of the different states. A number of theories for these differences have been suggested, ranging from socioeconomics to access to firearms and isolation (low population densities), and a study in 2011 found a correlation between altitude above sea level and suicide.
|Suicide rate by state (2016)|
|Rank||State||Suicide rate per 100,000 people|
A 2009 U.S. Army report indicates military veterans have double the suicide rate of non-veterans, and more active-duty soldiers have died from suicide than in combat in the Iraq War (2003–2011) and War in Afghanistan (2001–2014). Colonel Carl Castro, director of military operational medical research for the Army noted "there needs to be a cultural shift in the military to get people to focus more on mental health and fitness." In 2012, the US Army reported 185 suicides among active-duty troops, exceeding the number of combat deaths in that year (176). This figure has significantly increased since 2001, when the number of suicides was 52.
Patients with chronic pain are twice as likely to attempt suicide compared with those without chronic pain.
Studies have found very high rates of suicide in people with autism spectrum disorders, including high functioning autism and what was formerly known as Asperger syndrome. Autism and particularly Asperger syndrome are highly associated with clinical depression and as many as 30 percent or more of people with Asperger syndrome also suffer from depression.
- Assisted suicide in the United States
- Euthanasia in the United States
- National Suicide Prevention Week
- Suicide among LGBT youth
- Suicide among Native Americans in the United States
- Suicide in colleges in the United States
- Teenage suicide in the United States
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